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Friday, February 27, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-27-2015

Washington Times, February 27, 1915:

Six major league ball teams are today en route to their training headquarters, and within a few days you fans will have the greatest kind of a feast over the news which is coming from the various camps regarding the development of the players.
...
The Athletics will [train] at Jacksonville, while the Brooklyns will proceed by rail to Daytona, and the Phillies to St. Petersburg, Fla.

The other teams which are traveling south today are the Chicago Cubs, who left the Windy City last night, the Indians, or Cleveland American League team, which goes to San Anton [sic], Tex., and the St. Louis Cardinals, which are guided to Hot Wells, Tex., by Miller J. Huggins.

Interesting to note that even though the locations of Spring Training camps have changed, the length of camp has stayed about the same. They started camp a bit later in 1915, but the season also started later.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 27, 2015 at 08:33 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-26-2015

Pittsburgh Press, February 26, 1915:

[During a team jogging drill, White Sox pitcher Reb] Russell repeatedly lagged behind the others and once when passing the home plate, where the manager stood the boss called: “Show some speed, Tex. Where’s your ‘pep’?”

“What do you think this is, my birthday?” was the rather sarcastic reply of the bulky athlete.

“Well, it isn’t any holiday,” came the answer from the manager. “This isn’t a vacation trip. You’re out here to work.”
...
The affair was whispered about among the other boys rather apprehensively after the practice was over.

Russell is a pretty fascinating player, often overlooked when people talk about the best two-way players in baseball history. He pitched in the majors for six years, put up a 121 OPS+ in 1291.2 innings, led the league in fewest walks per nine innings twice, and allowed a total of two home runs in his final 807.2 innings.

After an elbow injury made it impossible for him to pitch, Reb converted to the outfield and hit .323/.377/.568 (142 OPS+) in two seasons with the Pirates as a position player. He wasn’t much of a defensive outfielder, so those gaudy hitting numbers weren’t enough to keep him in the majors. Russell headed to the American Association and continued to put up eye-popping hitting numbers. He retired with a lifetime minor league batting average north of .320.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 26, 2015 at 10:03 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, reb russell

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-25-2015

Toledo News-Bee, February 25, 1915:

Happy Felch [sic], a 1914 [Milwaukee] Brewer, is a confident rookie. He showed up to join the Chicago White Sox on the training trip, carrying a special bat.

“Mister, what position do you play?” inquired a youngster as Felch passed through the crowd at the station.

“Batter,” announced Felch.

I’m pretty sure he said “Bettor”.

Also on the same page as the linked article, Joe Tinker tells the Smitty-approved story of the time he and Cincinnati’s Dick Egan got into a fight after the game, on the field. Frank Chance was in the shower when he heard about the fight and ran out to the field break it up…but forgot to wear pants. Or underwear. Or a towel.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 25, 2015 at 08:01 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, happy felsch, history

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-24-2015

Red Sox third baseman Larry Gardner, quoted in the Toledo News-Bee, February 24, 1915:

The funniest thing I ever saw on a baseball field was a pitcher sliding clear past third base and spiking a coacher, and at the same time preventing his team from making what might have been considered a serious error.
...
[After a fly out to center, while the runner on second was heading for third base, Browns pitcher Bill] Bailey came tearing across to back up the third baseman. Just as he reached the base line his feet slipped and he fell sliding feet high in the air straight at [Red Sox manager Patsy] Donovan who was too interested in the welfare of the runner to see Bailey.

Bailey slid straight into Donovan, spiked him and brought him down on top of himself. Meantime the runner slid to third, the ball took a crooked hop, got past the baseman and hit Bailey, who recovered it before the base runner could start home, and prevented a score. It is the only time on record that a pitcher spiked the coacher.

I’d love to see video of this, preferably set to Yakity Sax, but obviously that’s not going to happen.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 24, 2015 at 07:57 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yankee Doodling « Our Game

How the Yankees got their name.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 23, 2015 at 09:37 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, February 23, 1915:

“If baseball players did not load around and drink so much booze during the off-season, there wouldn’t be any necessity for so much training in the spring. This was “Billy” Sunday’s opening clout when asked what he thought of training camps for the major league clubs.

“Of course, I don’t mean to say that training camps are not necessary. They are even more so today than they were when I was in the game, although there isn’t nearly as much boozing among the players now as there was then,” continued the evangelist…

Billy Sunday sounds like a one-man party. (Yes, I’m very familiar with his post-baseball career in the ministry.)

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 23, 2015 at 08:17 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: billy sunday, dugout, history, loafing

Friday, February 20, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-20-2015

Pittsburgh Press, February 20, 1915:

One writer suggests that the Cleveland Americans be called the Submarines, because they are always on the bottom. The only objection is that the Cincinnati Reds might dispute this title.

...and elsewhere on the same page:

After being with a second-division team for several years Lajoie has got renewed ambition. He has got something worth while to work for in 1915.
...
“I can hardly wait for the time to go south,” said Lajoie. “It has been several years since I was so eager to get into a baseball uniform as I am now. I want to show that I’ve got a lot of good ball playing yet left in me, and I think the ‘old boy’ will be back there in the .300 class next season.”

The joke was on Nap. The 1915 Athletics lost 109 games, which was the third-worst record in MLB from 1900-1915. The 1916 Athletics were the worst team of baseball’s modern area. They went 36-117 (.235) and finished 54.5 games out of first place. 41-year-old Nap hit .246 with no OBP or SLG to speak of, then retired.

And the Cleveland Submarines? They won a World Series before the Athletics finished above last place.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 20, 2015 at 08:10 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, dugout, history, indians, nap lajoie

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-19-2015


From a mini-biography of Clark Griffith in the Tacoma Times, February 19, 1915:

The strain of managing appears to have rasped his nerves. His hair turned gray in one season at Cincinnati, and he holds the record of taking 28 drinks of water in four minutes in a crisis of a game.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 19, 2015 at 09:46 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: clark griffith, dugout, history

The New York Base Ball Club (a.k.a. Washington BBC, Gotham BBC) « Our Game

I love this stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2015 at 08:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-18-2015

Pittsburgh Press, February 18, 1915:

[League President] Ed Barrow says that while the International league will adhere to a roster limit of 17, it will not be compulsory for clubs to carry playing managers. Bench managers will be considered as players, however.

16-17 man rosters? How are they supposed to run a pitching staff with less than 12 pitchers?

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 18, 2015 at 10:15 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-17-2015

Washington Times, February 17, 1915:

Fans [in Philadelphia] stand amazed at the official announcement from Connie Mack that J. Franklin Baker, the famous home run slugger, hero of every world’s series he has played in except the last, has quit baseball.
...
[Connie Mack says] “There has been no disagreement over salary terms with Baker. He has just simply decided to quit, that’s all.”
...
Baker’s real reason for quitting baseball is that he prefers to remain on his big farm at Trappe, Md. Mrs. Baker, particularly since the death of their children, has been urging him to stay home with her, instead of traveling around the country with the Athletics.

Most sources, including SABR, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and contemporary newspapers, suggest that Mack is stretching the truth here. According to those reports, Baker wanted to renegotiate his contract as a result of Mack selling off most of the team, Mack declined to do so, and neither was willing to budge.

After the 1915 season, under pressure from Ban Johnson to get one of the American League’s star players back on the field, Mack sold Baker to the Yankees.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 17, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, history, home run baker

Monday, February 16, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-16-2015

New York Tribune, February 16, 1915:

“Don’t look any further, for I am the mascot you want,” wrote Babe Shiels, of The Bronx. The committee appointed by Damon Runyon, of “The American,” took the advice and Shiels was chosen yesterday to help Bill Donovan revive the Yankees.

There will be no trouble in distinguising the players from the mascot next season. Shiels is very small. He is shorter than [5 foot 7] Fritz Maisel.
...
[Third place finisher Joseph] Livingston’s statement of his qualifications for the job was somewhat original.

“Why do I want to be mascot?” said his letter. “Because I am crazy. Everybody in baseball is crazy. If I wasn’t crazy I wouldn’t think that I could get the job. If the people that got up this idea wasn’t crazy they wouldn’t expect a boy of ten to write a composition.” Joseph will receive a league baseball.

I’d have chosen Livingston. Sounds like a cool kid.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 16, 2015 at 08:13 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, mascots

Friday, February 13, 2015

Armour on Top GMs | MLB.com

Mark Armour talks with Chris Russo about his new book.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2015 at 11:21 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #1 — Branch Rickey

I’ve always been fascinated and awed by Branch Rickey. His selection as the number one general manager is well deserved.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2015 at 10:34 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: branch rickey, general managers, history

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #2 — Pat Gillick

Maybe the Phillies should let Pat Gillick do whatever he wants.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2015 at 10:32 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history, pat gillick

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-13-2015

Pittsburgh Press, February 13, 1915:

[University of Michigan pitcher] George Sisler, southpaw extraordinary until he strained his arm last spring, dug up a mitt, tossed a few balls and joyously informed his college mates that his offside wing was as good as ever. If Coach Lundgren agrees with him, that means that George will bear the brunt of the mound work this spring.

Sisler was in the big leagues for good as a 1B/RF/P by June 1915.

Obviously he was a terrific hitter, but (as I’ve mentioned before) he was also a good MLB pitcher when he had the opportunity. In 1915-16, when he did the bulk of his pitching, Sisler threw 97 innings of 2.32 ERA (122 ERA+) ball, didn’t allow a home run, and gave up 7.4 hits per nine innings. Among pitchers who debuted in the past 100 seasons, George Sisler has the third-most career innings (111.0) without ever giving up a home run.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 13, 2015 at 08:04 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, george sisler, history

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Plaque on the Wall, But No Ring on the Finger – The Hardball Times

A look at the best players who never played in the World Series.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 02:29 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: history, world series

The Quartet: Four Great Yankees Sluggers

Quite the thunderous ensemble.

“In a September 1972 issue of The Sporting News this picture appeared with the headline “Quartet of Spare Parts Give Yanks New Zip.”  I confess to looking upon this photo with great hilarity.  It features Johnny Callison, Bernie Allen, Ron Swoboda and Hal Lanier.  Ever was there a more fearsome quartet of sluggers, I think not.  They all appear grinning and happy.  Their team unity is quite evident as they throw their arms about each other. Confidence leaps from the photo.”

Catfish1974 Posted: February 12, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: general, history, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-12-2015

Washington Times, February 12, 1915:

President Joseph A. Lannin, of the Boston Red Sox, predicted two-dollar baseball in the near future unless the controversy between [organized baseball] and the Federals comes to an early termination, at the “Home Night” annual dinner of Boston College last night.
...
“I know personally that the Federal League has already lost more than $1,000,000, one backer alone dropping $650,000.” This cannot continue if the sport of baseball is to live, he said.

According to the federal government’s Consumer Price Index, $2 in 1915 had the same buying power as $46.88 in 2014. Other conversions: $1M in 1915 is about $23.4M in 2014, and $650K in 1915 is around $15.2M in 2014 dollars.

Willie Horton Hears The Who (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2015 at 09:51 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, federal league, history

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #3 — Ed Barrow

Catching up on the GM series today with the Ed Barrow, Bob Howsam, George Weiss, and John Schuerholz. The work of GMs is a topic that fascinates me. Since Mark Armour and Dan Levitt are excellent baseball researchers I am counting the days to the book’s release.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #4 — Bob Howsam

Architect of the late 60’s Cardinals World Series teams and the Big Red Machine.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 08:23 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history, reds

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #5 — George Weiss

Long-time GM of the Yankees.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history, yankees

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #6 — John Schuerholz

GM of the Royals and Braves.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 12, 2015 at 08:21 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #7 — Buzzie Bavasi

Former GM of the Dodgers, Padres, and Angels.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2015 at 01:28 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS #8 — Harry Dalton

GM of the Orioles, Angels and Brewers.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2015 at 01:20 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history

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